Secret Wars Declassifed: Week 2 Of Marvel Comics’ Event Tie-In Series Reviewed In Full! Several Books With A Mountain Of Titles Still To Come!!

Welcome to the first installment in what is most likely at least twenty to twenty-four weeks’ worth of analysis for ALL the SECRET WARS tie-in series all Secret Wars Declassified. We’re now onto Week 2!

Secret Wars Declassified banner week 2

Greetings, Dear Readers!! The books are coming out of the woodwork! Eight titles permeate this time around. From this point on, there will be three distinct headings to reflect their significance in accordance to Marvel’s branding of this multi-part months-long saga.

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LOKI - AGENT of ASGARD #14 review spoilers 1

LOKI: AGENT of ASGARD #14
“Born One Morning and the Sun Didn’t Shine” (20 pages) by Al Ewing, Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela w/ Andres Mossa, VC’s Clayton Cowles

The Story is all that matters. Capital S. A spin on Ragnarök is presented as it rapidly approaches. Loki’s primary and sole concern is preserving The Story, meaning his. Odin, the All-Father is rattled to his core since a disturbing dream will soon become reality. The evil alternate version of Loki also makes preparations. Thus, it’s a three-pronged ‘attack’. Odin’s attempts to gather allies turns sour with his impatience, impudence, and insults. The ‘good’ Loki dodges Verity Willis’ questions about what’s happened to her friend, a different version of the God of Stories.

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After gender-swapping and discussing, Verity refuses to believe that The End is nigh. She feels that Loki knows there is Hope but is refusing to admit to it. S/He fires back that Verity’s story is of the utmost importance. Evil Loki visits his daughter Hela. He wants to set free a most wicked creature that even causes Hel to quiver. Freyja surprises Odin with a small gathering of Asgardians. Through the Enchantress’ magic, they all gain Heimdall’s vision. Major shock to the system — Loki is on the back of Jormungandr, the World Serpent with Balder’s head in his hand!! Hela and Tyr are on each side with Hel’s warriors ready for action. [8 strikes]

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Truly fascinating observations about the significance of storytelling and how it affects all these characters.

That’s the thing about stories. They have to end to mean anything. I can’t be Loki forever.”

It’s never the end of all stories. They get everywhere. Like roaches. Wipe out the whole omniverse – there’ll still be a story somewhere. Loads, probably.” – Loki, the Goddess of Stories

For the story is ending – even the story of the Dead. And we shall all be wiped away…” – Hela

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MASTER of KUNG-FU #1 review spoilers 1

MASTER OF KUNG-FU #1 (of 4)
“Master Drunk” (20 pages) by Haden Blackman, Dalibor Talajić, Goran Sudžuka, Miroslav Mrva, VC’s Travis Lanham

Martial arts magic!! The major craze of the 70’s is back in splendiferous style!! I was blown away by the dialogue, action, characterization, plot, the whole shebang! Mr. Blackman has done an immense amount of world-building in one compact issue. Shang-Chi has been downgraded to a derelict and drunk. His fighting spirit is far from gone as he easily handles three enforcers of the Ten Rings, while he’s hungover :0 An on-looker runs to Callisto to inform her of the upstart. Even though he is faring quite well, Callisto arrives with her Outcasts and they vanish.

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Meanwhile…Laughing Skull trains some extremely poor candidates. Red Sai tells a messenger that she will serve the Emperor along with her Red Hand clan. The Emperor learns the news of his son’s exaggerated death. He awaits Shang’s return. Iron Fist wants a one-on-one with the errant son for having slain his master. The last panel shows Shang and his new friends within the citadel, descending. [9.5 strikes]

Encyclopædic Enlightenment
13 Chambers – tournament held every 13 years to determine the new Emperor.
Houses – Red Hand, Panther Clan, House of the Jade Tiger, Spider Cult, Ten Rings, Iron Fist.
K’un Lun – domain #11 of Battleworld.
Zheng Zu – Shang Chi’s father [analog of Fu Manchu]
Ten Rings – Razorfist, Typhus, Nightwind (among others)
Shang-Chi – The Rising Spirit, Son of the Emperor, Seven-Time Winner of the Dragon Cup, Nine-Time Winner of (?), slayer of Lord Tuan, master of Iron Fist.
Outcasts – [analog of Morlocks] Callisto, Caliban, Kitten [Kitty Pryde], Lock [Lockheed] — Love the new take on Kitten and her pet dragon. Caliban looks downright docile.

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Laughing Skull – analog of Taskmaster

Red Sai – analog of Elektra
Red Hand – analog of The Hand. Duh!
Herald – analog of Silver Surfer. Didn’t see this coming!! Not obvious in the least!!! Had I not researched, I would’ve been left in the dark.
Iron Fist – real name: Daniel Rand

SECRET WARS - BATTLEWORLD #1 review spoilers 1

SECRET WARS: BATTLEWORLD #1 (of 4)
“Soldier Supreme” (10 pages) by Josh Williamson, Mike Henderson, Jordan Boyd, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Stephen Strange’s spirit has commandeered Frank Castle’s body. They are now co-joined as the Soldier Supreme. The Punisher-Dr. Strange mash-up is ultra-wicked.

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He is accosted by the Infernal Four (Ghost Rider, Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine). Three out of four ain’t bad as the aforementioned trio drop like flies but Wolverine never goes down easy. He slices and dices Frank. Stephen wants him to cast a healing spell but Frank wants to go out with dignity. He launches a grenade with his dying breath. Later, Wolverine brings the skull emblem to Sheriff Strange. The Sheriff iterates that Doom wanted Castle alive. When Wolvie begins to pry, he is dismissed. Shockingly, the spirit of the ‘real’ Strange hovers above Wolverine and vows vengeance. Wolvie can hear him and retorts that Inferno is the incarnation of Hell. [8.5 strikes]

Domain #27: 2099

Domain #29: Monarchy of M – mentioned
Domain #37: Limbo – from whence hail Frank and Stephen
Domain #38: Deadlands – mentioned and rightfully dreaded
Domain #41: The Shield – the great barrier for castaways

Magic, Military Mode!
Calm. Dust. – Hulk becomes Banner then, well, you know…
Rocket of Raggador – takes down Ghost Rider
Weapon of Watoomb – vain attempt to blow up Wolverine

“M.O.D.O.K. Madness” (10 pages) by Ed Brisson, Scott Hepburn, Matt Milla, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Never was a fan of the protruding bulging floating head and his overstuffed ego. Not only is his appearance off-putting but his speech is just plain annoying! GGRR!! Either way, he is used to much comedic effect. The Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing teleports nine other versions of himself to help him depose Doom so that he may be absolute autocrat of the patchwork planet.

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You’d think that a room full of elevated intellectuals would be able to pull it off. Nope!! Two members of the Thor Corps are dispatched to investigate the unruliness. They begrudgingly oblige their duty since they find M.O.D.O.K. to be loathsome and just plain boogly. He will be charged with heresy. They are aghast when they witness the aftermath. The massive noggin asks to be put out of his misery. [6 strikes]

Domain #22: The Warzone (Iron faction)

Too much of a good thing…
Ghost Rider M.O.D.O.K., Hulk M.O.D.O.K.(?), Spider-Man M.O.D.O.K., Modie’s daughter(!), M.O.D.O.K. of King James’ England, M.O.D.O.K. of S.H.I.E.L.D., standing, ‘normal’ humanoid M.O.D.O.K. of the future, two unnamed versions

Squeamish about what comes naturally?M.O.D.O.K. is a leader, not a breeder!

Appropriate self-scrutiny:I had forgotten what a pompous ass I once was.”

ULTIMATE END #1 review spoilers 1

ULTIMATE END #1 (of 5)
“” (21 pages) by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, Justin Ponsor, VC’s Cory Petit

Welcome to Manhattan! Nice place to visit but wouldn’t want to live there especially since it’s under Doom’s dominion!! The first three pages show Ultimate Punisher ready to take out both sides of the equations: the heroes of 616 vs. those of 1610. He thinks he’s doing each universe a favour by lessening the bloodshed. A most extreme solution to an exacerbating problem.

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Spider-Man of the main MU is en route to the Triskelion. Along the way he comes across an all-female Serpent Squad, his high school fantasies realized, and the All-New Ultimates. He is completely unnerved coming across Jessica Drew, knowing full well that she is a clone of his other self. Her knowledge of his true identity unhinges him even more. Nick Fury-1610 has organized a pow-wow from both worlds. It’s a meeting of the minds to overthrow Doom and reset everything. Tony Stark ends up having an existential argument with his overbearing parallel reflection. Ever the comedic foil, Spidey’s concern over the exposure of his secret ID dissipates the tension somewhat. He is floored that everyone in the UU is privy to it as well as Emma Frost. Like the loveable dope that he is, he blurts his birth name. It’s a non-issue now. Back to the enveloping drama: after some ethical debating, Tony Stark-1610 realizes the error of his ways and admits to discovering a dimension rift and then standing idle deciding the next course of action. The two groups part ways, each stating that they do not trust the other. Doom is omniscient. The Thor Corps are ready to bring the thunder! [7 strikes]

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Domain #20c – Manhattan of Earth-1610

Who’s Right? Who’s Wrong?
Earth-616: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Doc Green, Scarlet Witch, Cyclops, Storm, Emma Frost
Earth-1610: Nick Fury, Tony Stark, Ben Grimm, Clint Barton

Wrestling with myself:
You want to hear what he has to say and I really don’t. And yet we’re the same person.”
No. We’re not.” “Sure we are. Tony Stark facial hair. It’s practically a trademark.” – Tony 1610, then 616, with 1610 having the final say.

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A-FORCE #1

A-FORCE #1
“” (21 pages) by Marguerite Bennett & G. Willow Wilson, Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Laura Martin & Matt Milla, VC’s Cory Petit

Click here for my detailed analysis from the past week. [7.5 strikes]

DEADPOOL'S SECRET SECRET WARS #1 review spoilers 1

DEADPOOL’S SECRET SECRET WARS #1 (of 4)
“” (20 pages) by Cullen Bunn, Matteo Lolli, Ruth Redmond, VC’s Joe Sabino

Aren’t we the fools? How could none of us realize that the Merc with a Mouth, the Regenerating Degenerate was present for the first Secret Wars?!? First?!? Wade walks away unscathed (more or less) from a battle gone badly. Flashback: for whatever unnecessary reason, Wasp, the leader of the Avengers believes introductions are in order as eighteen heroes and one villain find themselves in parts unknown. Enter: Deadpool. They are beyond clueless as to his credentials and wonder what use he has. They all observe the appearance of another construct and the genesis of Battleworld as well as the coming of the Beyonder. DP is ready to slay play but he tones it down when the heroes frown upon his eagerness. On the newly-born barren world, Magneto rightly turns on the do-gooders and flees. Leadership is needed. Captain America is elected much to Wolverine’s vehement opposition.

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The matches commence. The villains have their butts kicked.

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‘Pool comes across Kang who is unseen by the others. A swift kick to the groin puts the Conqueror out of commission. Something went awry since the story returns to the present. Wade Wilson ponders the outcome. When he emerges from the shadows, he’s sporting a brand new face: that of a handsome, leaner, version of Dum-Dum Dugan!? [7 strikes]

“Bonus Round” (10 pages) by Cullen Bunn, Jacopo Camagni, Veronica Gandini, VC’s Joe Sabino

Marvel’s Comics very first mini-series CONTEST of CHAMPIONS is paid tribute!! That’s open to debate since Mr. Pool is involved. Feeling snubbed, DP pleads his case and surprisingly convinces Grandmaster to create a bonus round!! Wade is so vexatious that even an Elder of the Universe caves in to his asinine request. *chortle* Grandmaster opts for Deadpool, Doop, Howard the Duck, and Pink Sphinx. Love that last one! Death is represented by Frog Man, Rocket Racer, She-Man-Thing (shudder!) and the Vile Tapeworm. FIGHT!!

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The motormouth merc enters a strip club where the coveted prize is located. It’s nothing more than a giant button that says “participant”. Grandmaster won via DP and his lackies. He does get a consolation prize: a kiss from Death. Literally!! [7 strikes for the lolz]

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Meta-commentary: A hammer-over-the-head reminder that Deadpool is actually dead in the present day.

This match was brought to you by…Cheetos® and Mountain Dew®

PLANET HULK #1 review spoilers 1

PLANET HULK #1
“The Oath” (20 pages) by Sam Humphries, Marc Laming, Jordan Boyd, VC’s Travis Lanham

If you loved the original epic by Greg Pak and are a major fan of GLADIATOR, this one’s for you!! The neat thing about this series is the choice in co-star: Steve Rogers, the former Captain America and his new companion Devil Dinosaur! A village of Hulks decide to engage in battle with Doom’s Dogs (the Thors). They can’t leave well enough alone. They are soundly defeated by the enforcers since all they have are stones, scraps, and the other s-word. The village is destroyed but the Thors move onward. Red Hulk is quite content with Doom’s swift punishment.

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The Captain is a combat warrior in the employ of Arcade. His exploits are televised and in honour of Doom. The Captain has fought his last fight. He grabs Arcade and enters Devil’s maw. Cap is seeking Bucky. The interrogation is over before it begins when they are tasered. Doom’s graciousness spares Cap’s life. Sheriff Strange wants him to travel to the Mud Kingdom and settle a border dispute by killing the Red King. Cap gets all the dirty work since Doom is too high-and-mighty to tarnish his armour. Cap accepts once Strange tells him that Bucky is RK’s captive.

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He will also be allowed to live freely in Greenland when the task has been accomplished. Gamma-irradiated earthworms greet the twosome. They are overwhelmed. Luckily, the operative they are to meet, Green Hulk, is his rescuer. [9 strikes]

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Domain #1: Greenland

No better place: The Killiseum – best name ever for a gladiatorial arena!

Don’t get lost: The map of Greenland is well laid-out and cleverly designated. {Badlands, Barrens of the Tribal Hulks, Fang Mountain, Gamma Lake, Mud Kingdom, Port Banner, Sea of Monsters, She-Hulk Shore}

“Phoenix Burning” (10 pages) by Greg Pak, Takeshi Miyazawa, Rachelle Rosenberg, Travis Lanham [AMAZING SCIENCE #15 cover by Leonard Kirk and Tamra Bonvillain]

The rabid fans demand more!! Here you go! This is the origin of the Hulk re-told with Amadeus Cho subbing as Rick Jones. Wunderkind Amadeus works for Bannertech. He’s one of the lead scientists. His experiments with gamma radiation are a success.

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Gabriel Jones, commander of S.H.I.E.L.D. western division blares that A.I.M. has hijacked their supply of Gamma bombs. Banner is aghast since he had no idea Cho donated them to the peacekeeping force. Two major cities on each coast have been hit. Cho suits up and takes flight with some other techies. Cho pulls a Bucky when he hops onto a missile and tries to prevent its impact. He fails. Banner and others are hit by the radiation. At first, Banner believes it contained and praises Cho. Seconds later, he mutates into the savage beast he was always destined to be. [6 strikes]

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SPIDER-VERSE #1 review spoilers 1

SPIDER-VERSE #1
“” (25 pages) by Mike Costa, André Araújo, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Two tales are told separately before their inevitable crossing. Spider-Gwen is in a daze. Her memories are incomplete and she can’t shake off the feeling of her supposed death. The reality she finds herself in is not her own. After interrupting a grave robbing by the Jackal and his cronies, Gwen visits the tombstones of her other self and her father. That in itself should be eerie but she is determined to get answers to the nagging questions. Residing in a halfway house shows how low she has gone. The internet reveals her doppleganger’s death and the disappearance of Spider-Man. Her quest leads her to the slimeball numero uno: Norman Osborn. The man is sharper than a Ginsu knife. He spots her in the crowd and identifies her as one of the newest employees. The ruse is set. Two months into her gig, Gwen decides to finally act. Her attempt at pickpocketing a key card is unsuccessful. Nevertheless, she gains access to Ozcorp Special Projects. She is astounded to see a humanoid pig hooked up to IVs with a Spider-costume hanging next to him. The jig is up!! Norman Osborn casually points out Gwen’s last name and informs her that she was expected.

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Pravitir Prabhakar comes out of hiding and provides his services after he witnesses Spider-Man (formerly U.K.) and Spider-Girl tussle with the Enforcers and hi-tech bounty hunters. After unmaskings are done, Pavitir revels in a major scientific discovery: The Great Web a.k.a. the Web of Life and Destiny. This is the source of the Spider-Sense and the pathway to various Spider-avatars from across the multiverse!! [7 strikes]

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Domain #16: Arachnia

Head-wrapping:
Paramnesia – distorted, confused memory
Déjà vu – from the French, literally “already seen”. The inexplicable feeling that you’ve experienced something before.
Preseque vu — from the French, literally “almost seen”. The inability to access something that is on the tip of your tongue.

“Pig in the City” (5 pages) by Mike Costa, Steven Sanders, Jim Campbell

SSSQQQUUUEEEAAALLL!!! Peter Porker’s new beginnings recounted!! Transported from Earth-25 to this other reality by his Aunt May’s atomic-powered hairdryer, Spider-Ham tries to get his bearings and carve out a different kind of life. From vagrant to permanent house guest (due to an old lady’s blindness and lack of revealing his true self) to being caught to circus attraction who does stand-up comedy — mission accomplished. Norman Osborn spots the arachnid porcine and evilly smiles, seeing that he has a new pet project. [7 strikes]

Misconception: “Pigs are actually very clean creatures.” – directly from the snout of Peter Porker himself. Shows what little I knew!

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